With the end of the semester approaching swiftly, students may feel overburdened with their course loads in addition to preparing for finals week. Along with the upcoming holidays, stress levels at the end of fall semester hit all-time highs.
“The pressure is on,” said Eric Bell, a sophomore at the University of Arkansas at Monticello. “I have insomnia; I’m just up studying, studying, studying.”
The University of Iowa Counseling Services defines stress as “any demand (force, pressure or strain) placed on the body and the body’s reaction to it.” Though sometimes associated with negative connotations, stress is a common and normal emotion that everyone experiences.
According to the Counseling and Mental Health Center at the University of Texas in Austin, “We often think of stress as the result of external events; however, the events themselves are not necessarily stressful. It is the way in which each individual interprets and reacts to an event that produces stress.”
While everyone stresses due to the daily grind of life, this proves particularly true for college students, who try to balance school, work, social activities and families – leaving little time for rest and relaxation.
Director of UAM’s Counseling and Testing Center Laura Hughes said, “College is one of the more stressful times of someone’s life, and when you add finals and the holidays to that, it can be overwhelming.”
Though stress can have positive effects, if not managed properly, it can become harmful to an individual’s well-being and physical health. The amount of stress does not necessarily distinguish between healthy and unhealthy stress levels. Since individuals experience stress at different intensities and for different reasons, the major difference between healthy and unhealthy stress is the ability to recognize stress and manage it.
The first and most important step of stress management includes recognizing a rise in stress levels. According to the Brooklyn College Personal Counseling Program, reactions to stress can affect an individual’s physical, emotional, behavioral and, or cognitive states.
When asked about finals, sophomore nursing major, Michelle Donigan said, “Don’t even say that word. [Stress from finals] makes my stomach and my head hurt.”
While reactions to stress are unique to the individual, some common signs and symptoms of stress include:
Once an individual recognizes their rising stress levels, they can then begin to implement effective stress management techniques to reduce those stress levels. However, just as the intensity and reasons behind stress vary from person to person, so do the management techniques. Several techniques for stress management include:
Since stress is a very personal condition, it is up to the individual to recognize rising stress levels, identify the sources of stress and implement the proper management of that stress based on their preferences. While stress is personal, several venues offer services and advice for dealing with stress.
UAM’s Counseling and Testing Center offers a variety of free and confidential counseling and testing services to the UAM community. The center’s office hours are Monday – Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Students can make an appointment by telephone at (870) 460-1454. However, the center also offers drop-in counseling to accommodate students in crisis or emergency situations or for short consultations.
The Counseling and Testing Center provides educational counseling, which offers outreach workshops and individual assistance to aid students with study skills, text anxiety, time management, stress management, conflict resolution and relationship problems among other issues.
The center also offers personal counseling and support services, which aide in improving personal, academic and psychological well-being of students. The center employs a trained counselor full-time to help students with any issue. The office can also provide referrals to mental health agencies in the case of crisis situations or long-term treatment.
Monday, Dec. 5, the center will offer a workshop entitled, “Surviving the Holiday Rollercoaster.” The workshop will take place in the Horsfall Lobby at 7 p.m.; cookies and hot chocolate will be provided. For more information on this event or UAM’s counseling center, contact Laura Hughes at (870) 460-1454 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
According to Hughes, during finals week, preparation may be key in relieving undo stress. Hughes advises, “Start preparing now. Waiting until the last minute will only cause more stress.”
Students can access the final exam schedule by accessing this link: http://www.uamont.edu/Schedules/. The university also provides several tutoring services that can help students prepare for their final exams.
Located on the second floor of Harris Hall, students can find out more information about the UAM Tutoring Services by contacting Hughes at (870) 460-1454. Gateway Student Support Services also offers tutoring to students. For more information on Gateway’s services, call (870) 460-1054. Tutoring services include:
ˇ Math & Science Tutoring: available Monday – Thursday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., located in Harris Hall room 329.
ˇ Additional Subject Areas: call 460-1454 for the list of tutoring services currently available.
ˇ Gateway General Education Tutoring: available from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. in Harris Hall, Room 123.
ˇ Intense Math Tutoring: available on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m., offered by Gateway Services.
ˇ Residence Hall Tutoring: available Monday – Thursday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Hopefully, these stress management techniques and useful resources will help students make it through the chaos of finals week. Remember to eat well-balanced meals, get plenty of sleep and prepare for exams in order to finish out the semester on top. Good luck and Godspeed.
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ŠThe Voice 2006
Revised 01/13/2008 03:18:32 PM — http://www.uamont.edu/Organizations/TheVoice/4_11/stress.htm